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Jan 25, 2019

keeping home

I got a quite a lot of positive response from my “keeper at home” post a while back… It seems to resonate with a lot of you, so I thought I would keep going with that thought. 
📷: @erinkvdonck
This quote came across my feed on Instagram, and it so clearly states the desires of my heart for my home that I’ll just share it here and let you read for yourself:
Powerful words, don’t you think? One of the commenters said, “All those little homemaking moments… all the repetitive chores are part of building a glimpse of His Kingdom.” What a great perspective!

THAT is what I want for my home, and THAT is what I work for every day — creating opportunities to display the beauty of the Gospel through my faithfulness in the practical (and sometimes mundane) every day tasks of managing my home and loving my family.

Right now it seems like the “KonMarie” method of tidying up is taking over everything — and while I love a beautifully organized drawer as much as the next girl, that’s not the end goal. It’s not enough just to make things pretty and organized. As the keepers and tone-setters of our homes… shouldn’t our goal be more than pretty? Shouldn’t our goal be Jesus in everything? 
📷: @erinkvdonck
I have never felt like I am particularly skilled or gifted or inclined to any one thing (I changed my major — drastically — twice). But since becoming a wife, and especially since becoming a missionary where home is somewhat fluid — I finally feel like I am coming into myself, and really think that this is my calling and gifting: keeping home. I thrive on making my home, home, even when home changes every few months or years. It fills my little homemaker heart and makes me so happy to have a clean, cozy, pretty, welcoming, safe, comfortable home.

Some practical ways that I do that are: candles, good food, paper plates, less stuff, music, and an eternal mindset. It feels like all of the pieces of this truth are only just now finally starting to click together for me; I’m definitely still a work-in-progress, but thankfully Jesus doesn’t get tired of “working” on us.

So, tell me… how do you keep your home?

Jan 4, 2019

a mindful new year

Happy New Year, y’all! I had every intention of sharing more about being a keeper-at-home — I even had part of it written — as well as a year end review/meditation for the New Year…. and then a whole lot of life happened all at once.

Lucy Mae totally changed up her everything on me, and it kind of turned our world topsy turvy. Learning to walk, teething (ALL the teeth. ALL OF THEM.), sleep interruptions, separation anxiety, and weaning abruptly. Sleep deprivation + mastitis + nasty cold + hormone crash + holidays = crazy mama! Needless to say, I’ve been trying to take it really slowly and just get back to feeling better. We’re finding our new rhythm and Lucy Mae is thriving.
A whole year of Lucy Mae!
2018 has been the hardest year we’ve ever had, but it wasn’t all bad. Yes, there were some very low spots, times I let myself and others down, and plenty of times when I needed to wrestle my thought-life back to God’s truth, and too many times of saying goodbye to friends. BUT there were also sweet moments, too. Coffee’s in America with my mom, visits from besties, Belgium, meeting LM’s cousins, international flights, giant birthday bouquets, a trip to the beach, lots of good food and porch time, being in our own space, and celebrating a whole year of Lucy Mae!

Often at New Year’s I get very nostalgic and sad… but not this year; truthfully, I’m kind of glad to be done with last year. It was hard, but I don’t have any regrets. I did my best to soak up all of the little moments with Lucy Mae, hiding them in my heart, mindful of just how short this time is in hindsight, but I don’t really miss those moments.
Just some of the highlights of 2018!
I’m a big fan of the “Word of the Year” versus resolutions; it can’t be broken and is less like a list of impossible rules I won’t keep. I kind of started this at the end of last year, but this year I want to be more purposefully and intentionally MINDFUL of my time, my thoughts, my attitude, and my actions. A couple of extra months of mindfulness can’t hurt, right? 

So here’s to a New Year of growth and mindfulness. 

Dec 1, 2018

happy birthday, baby

Last week was Thanksgiving, but it was also Lucy Mae’s birthday! It happened to fall on Thanksgiving Day this year, and my in-laws were heading out for their year-long home assignment the next day, so we celebrated Thanksgiving early, and celebrated Lucy Mae on her actual birthday. 
An early Thanksgiving feast.
📷: @j_verdonck
It has been so fun seeing her personality come out. I was going to write “her little personality” but let’s be real here — there ain’t nothing little about her personality. Lucy Mae has big opinions, a big attitude, and lots of stories which she loves to share in the cutest little voice. Two days before her birthday she started walking independently, and she ain’t got time for your help interference (just gas-and-go power-up hugs). 
📷: @erinkvdonck
It has also been so sweet to see how people love her; I love that people love my baby! We have Josh’s parents that live on the same center, and that is something that we do not take for granted! We also have our good, good friends that love Lucy Mae, too. 
DIY decorations
📷: @erinkvdonck
It's hard to imagine that it's been a whole year. We used to live day-to-day, literally telling each other "We can't break her in a day" when our routine was whacky. We used to celebrate every day that we survived one more day of parenthood. Some days it can still feel like that, overwhelming and exhausting; the days are sometimes still long, and the nights are sometimes even longer. But she gets more and more fun as she gets older, and even though we're still figuring out this whole parent thing, I think we're doing just fine.
Cake smash!!
📷: @erinkvdonck
Yes, it's been a long year with a steep learning curve, but I wouldn't change it. I'm loving spending my days with my little buddy.

Happy Birthday, baby.

Nov 20, 2018

keeper at home

I’ve recently come across the term “home keeper” a lot lately, and it does something wonderful to my soul. It just FITS my heart so well. It’s the beautiful concept of being the *“keeper at home” — the guardian, the one who sets the tone for home and family, who guards, protects, and maintains the spirit of home.

Erin Verdonck, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts — I mean, home. 

I want my home to be a place that is peaceful, and happy, and safe. A place that you want to come back to at the end of the day. A place that is welcoming to friends and family and strangers alike. A place that is comfortable and full of love.

And so I am the keeper at my home.
📷: @erinkvdonck
I’m a homebody by nature, and while I do enjoy getting out, I am happiest in my own home. That used to be about having a space to retreat to alone when the world was too much; but now it’s about having a space to invite people into, to share hearts, and do life together. That big lesson I have been learning about leaving the dishes, stems directly from this: to invite people in, be present with them, share hearts, do life together, and wash the dishes later. It’s about trading in control and the desire for an Instagram-perfect house in favor of more laughs, more people, more experiences, more memories, and more love all-around. I think that’s a bigger testament to how God would have us treat each other, than stressing over whether everything is perfectly in place all the time. Martha, not Mary. People, not perfect.

I hope to share some more blog posts about how I am being the keeper of my home in the future, so consider this Part I.

Erin Verdonck, keeper of hearts at home.

*Based off of Titus 2:3-5, the qualities of a sound church. It is sometimes translated as “guardian” — how cool is that?!

Is there anything better than a freshly bathed babe?
📷: @erinkvdonck